31 December, 2010
Dear Friends of Global Justice Ecology Project,
Happy New Year! In celebration of the New Year that is just around the corner, I am sending this one last appeal to ask for your support for the programs of Global Justice Ecology Project.
You’ve heard a lot about what we’ve accomplished in the past year, so here is summary of some of the things we have planned for 2011.
Chiapas, Mexico—California—Acre, Brazil Climate Deal
While we were in Cancun, Mexico for the UN Climate Conference earlier this month, a deal was announced between California; Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil for agrofuel (biofuel) production and forest carbon offsets.
GJEP Co-Director has worked in support of the Zapatistas since 1994; and our new Media Coordinator, Jeff Conant, who works out of our Oakland, California office, has a long history with Chiapas as well—making this a perfect campaign for us. In fact, he just released a new book titled, “A Poetics of Resistance: The Revolutionary Public Relations of the Zapatista Insurgency.”
We will be sending a delegation to Chiapas, Mexico in March to investigate the impacts of this deal—which is designed to allow polluting companies in California to continue polluting at the expense of forests and communities in Chiapas, Brazil and California.
Chiapas is home to the Zapatistas—the Indigenous people that rose up against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. They are still active, and we will investigate whether this California-Chiapas deal is designed to displace Zapatista communities to make room for plantations of African Palm or Jatropha for agrofuel production.
Strategic Media Program
We created this program with the goal of supporting the efforts of communities that are resisting/suffering the impacts of climate change, fossil fuels or false solutions to climate change like forest offsets.
Our Strategic Media Partners include the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, EcoViva (which supports community efforts to protect the environment in El Salvador), and we have also supported the media efforts of the global Climate Justice Now! network, ETC Group (which identifies and exposes dangerous new technologies like synthetic biology), and Global Forest Coalition.
Addressing climate change in a just and effective way is one of the goals of this program. We believe that highlighting the voices of people deeply involved in either finding real and just solutions to climate change, or stopping the causes of or false solutions to climate change is one of the most effective ways we can be involved.
STOP GE Trees Campaign
GJEP was part of a lawsuit filed against the USDA over their approval of a series of “test plots” involving 260,000 GE eucalyptus trees planted across the US South.
We anticipate the lawsuit will go to court this spring, which will mean a major media campaign and a lot of organizing with groups based in the regions threatened by the GE trees.
In July we head to Brazil. We will meet with groups around Brazil to advance the campaign against GE trees there and will organize an action against a major industry conference on GE trees that is being held there.
The Future of Forests
All of our work to protect forests and the peoples that depend on them will culminate in a project called “The Future of Forests.” 2011 is the International Year of Forests and we will be using that occasion to collaborate with our allies on a series of papers about the current and emerging threats to forests. This includes:
• Genetically engineered tree plantations—still stoppable, with your help.
• Wood-based energy—using trees to produce everything from diesel fuel to electricity is becoming a major threat to forests globally. We are exposing the dirty lie of this supposedly “green” way to make fuel.
• Forest offsets—Using standing forests or industrial tree plantations to supposedly offset the emissions of industries in industrialized countries like the US is worsening climate change, which is in turn threatening the survival of forests.
In addition, using forests for offsets requires the removal of communities living there. These displaced people—many of them Indigenous—then have nowhere to go. We are working with our Indigenous allies to stop this false climate solution.
One thing that makes Global Justice Ecology Project unique is the fact that we have a highly talented professional photographer as one of our Directors. GJEP Co-Director Orin Langelle has been a concerned photographer since the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.
He is taking this year to put together his four decades of photography into a book that can tell the story of the movements—from forest protection, to Indigenous Rights, to the anti-Vietnam War, to climate justice—and how they can weave together to make one powerful transformative international movement that can successfully tackle the global crises we face today.
Thank you and have a wonderful New Year.